Ephesians 5:33b: And the wife should respect her husband.
Respect is his primary need, his deepest desire.

I Put My Followers First

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life, Lemons and Giving Thanks

I would suppose that you've heard the phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade".

I would rather say, "When life gives you lemons, give thanks."

The Lord is doing a mighty work with my life.  When I received a layoff notice last February, I was frightened out of my wits.   It took a few days to recover my sensibilities.  And then, after allowing myself to suffer, I chose to thank God.

Silly me, at first I thought that He had forsaken me.  But I know that I know better.

I know that all things work for the good of those who believe in Him.  Call it finding the silver lining, call it mixed blessings, call it making lemonade from lemons - it all means the same.  God is orchestrating the events of life so that each individual is afforded their greatest chance for happiness.

The individual is me.  The individual is you.  God is in control and He desires our individual happiness. Not at the expense of others or in spite of others.  Moreover, God is able to provide the best route to happiness for each individual.  To think otherwise would be to deny that our God is a loving god.  It would also mean denying the scope, power and ability of God.

Ponder the idea: God wants me to be happy.  The world and all that happens within it is designed to bring me pure joy.  Why then do I revolt against the growing pains?   Why do I cry out in terror or anger?  Why am I so ungrateful when I am chastised or tried?

When I have been grateful for the trials and tribulations of life in the past year, I have been abundantly blessed.  God's love is immeasurable and incomprehensible.  Remember the poem "Footprints in the Sand" poem by Mary Stevenson?  I can retrace my past footprints and see how He has strengthened me, carried me and blessed me.

I have spent only a few moments browsing the postings and messages in my archives for the year.  I am so humbled by the vision afforded in hindsight.

Before Thanksgiving, I highly recommend that you do the same.  I challenge you to look back and trace your own footprints of this past year.   Browse the emails you've sent and received, the year of activity on your Facebook wall or the archived messages.  Review the year in whatever tangible way is available to you.  This year has been God's gift for you.  Turn around for a moment, retrace your steps and unwrap your gift.

As I write this I could not help but think of the dozens and dozens of people who have shared their lives with me this year.  I have been so blessed by your efforts.   There have been hundreds of people who have come into my life - many have stayed to enrich my days.   You have given me opportunities I would never have had in the workplace; chances to give and receive, to love and to laugh, to falter, to achieve.

I could not have done any of it without you.

You have been the hands, the heart, and the soothing whispers of God in my life this year.  I wish for you a season of gratitude and joy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Life, Lemons and Giving Thanks

Search Amazon.com for Footprints in the Sand
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Word Count Wednesday

As I've mentioned (didn't I?), I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  I am finally writing the book that so many people have encouraged me to write.  I have titled it, "Made Perfect In Weakness".

The printed and ebook editions will more than likely contain a disclaimer to this effect:
"Though based on a real life story, this is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, organizations or companies, living or dead, is purely coincidental."
Many details have to be fabricated because, in many regards, I really do not know the "real story".  In most cases I don't even know the real people, the real places, and the real history of events leading up the time period in which the story takes place.  I am fabricating the details that I do not know.

I am, however, attempting to portray the very real emotions and events that unfolded as my husband and I dated, fell in love and married.  That very real part of the story transpired over the course of sixty four days.

Fortunately for me, the necessary fabrications and filling in of the blanks renders "Made Perfect In Weakness" a work of fiction, which is good, because these are the rules to "win" NaNoWriMo:
The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people's works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.
If you are interested in following my progress, feel free to check my NaNoWriMo profile.  Here are the stats for this stage of the project:

To pique the interest of my readers, here is an exclusive first draft of the first page!

"No Public Restrooms!  It couldn't be more obvious if I lit it up in neon."  

The restaurant owner mumbled under his breath as he wiped down the counter and straightened the toothpick dispenser.  

George Levine was rushing past him to the bus stop and barely paused to say goodbye to the man at the cash register.   It might have escaped his throat as little more than a grunt but he thought it had been a sufficient acknowledgement.  He surely didn't notice when the man shook his head at George's departing backside.

The bells jangled, the glass shook and the hand painted sign wobbled as the door closed behind the man clumsily staggering as he made his way out the second door.   

The owner wasn't truly angry.  Every so often the man rushing out the door would stay and buy breakfast.  "Even then, he's a lousy tipper."  The owner muttered to himself as he headed back to the kitchen.   Once again, he had avoided confronting the man about using the restroom without buying something from the menu.

George Levine was the disappearing figure of a man determined.  His awkward gait as he hurried to catch the next bus caused him to weave from side to side across the parking lot.  In his rush, he began to topple into a sharp turn at the end of the drive.  Somehow remaining upright he rushed along the edge of the sidewalk to the intersection.  He was oblivious to the traffic rushing by, mere inches from his left hand that he swung at his side in a wide arch, as if propelling himself forward.   With his head bowed to the ground he appeared be travelling headlong into the light pole and the crosswalk request button.   He stopped just short of disaster and looked up, a little.

His right hand was drawn up to his chest in a fist, as if ready to throw a punch.  He muttered to himself and began smacking the crosswalk request button with his left hand.  Palm flat and fingers straight out, he pounded the button, demanding an immediate response.  He breathed rapidly and deeply as if he had sprinted to the corner.

Traffic finally stopped and the walk sign began to blink and chirp like a bird.  George started forward, nearly stumbling over his own feet, into the crosswalk.  His attempt to move quickly accentuated the disability in his right leg.   The red hand lit up, rapidly blinking and then stopped before George ever reached the centerline. 

An anxious driver began to inch forward for a right hand turn across George's path.   It only served to stop George dead in his tracks.  He stared straight at the driver and began to raise his right fist while his left hand shot forward as if he had the strength of a super hero to stop the oncoming car.  

"What are you doing?"  He yelled at the driver who mouthed an apology through the windshield.  Infuriated and sent off balance, George continued across the street.  

Monday, November 01, 2010

Every Time I Think Of You

One year for my birthday, when I was far away from family and very despondent, my mother sent a card with a scripture that I have never forgotten - the card or the scripture.

I know that what the card said, what the scripture said, is exactly what my mother thinks of me.  It meant more to me than I ever let on.  I've kept it all these years.  I hope my children will keep it, along with a copy of this post, so my grandchildren will know how important is to tell people that they matter.  It is especially important to thank God for the people in our lives.  That lesson was the gift that I received from that card.

In honor of that card, I created the first of this year's Thanksgiving Cards for husbands.

When I count blessings, at Thanksgiving and always, I count relationships first.  So, first off, I am grateful for my relationship with my Savior.  I remember what life is like without Him.  I am very grateful that He would rescue "a soul so rebellious and proud as mine".

Then I count, as my second great blessing, the relationship with my husband.  I also know what life is like without him.  I am grateful for the happiness he has brought into my world.  It is for him that I created this card.  Feel free to share it with your beloved husband as well.

Philippians 1:3

My plans for November?
50,000 words in 30 days!
November 1 - November 30

Can I get an Amen?